Friday 6 March 2015

Compass Points 117

Compass is now on Twitter! Follow us @CompassIPS. You’ll get the breaking news on our top titles even faster – and better still, we can find out what all of you lovely booksellers are up to – and re-tweet your news back to all of our publishers, editors and sales people! Happy days!

Another new publisher to welcome aboard the good ship Compass: let’s give a big hand and a yo-ho-ho to Urbane Publications. They describe themselves as “a new and exciting independent publisher dedicated to developing and producing the books you want to read – hip, contemporary, groundbreaking  fiction and non-fiction designed to entertain, excite, and engage.” They have great titles, great authors – and great covers – have a look at their website and join them on their “journey of discovery, finding new voices, defining new genres, and most importantly creating the words you want read.”

One of the first titles we are looking forward to bringing you from Urbane is the challenging, controversial and thrilling new novel from Steven Berkoff coming in April: Sod the Bitches! (hb, 978 1909273825, £12.99). Berkoff is one of the best known writers and actors of modern times. His works always drive controversy and debate and Sod the Bitches! is no exception. Themes that haunt the Berkoff canon are present in this startling novel, from his use of crude street patter to discussion of sex wars; class wars; dislocation and abandonment of love in a thankless and unyielding world. Sod the Bitches! is testament to the power of words. It will shock, amaze, inspire and horrify. This is a book for the brave – a novel to expand your mind and challenge your moral compass and beliefs.

There has been a great deal of discussion recently about the shocking re-emergence of racism in football: you can read an interesting piece on the Guardian website here. Robson Press has just published an excellent title which is very relevant to this topic: Pitch Black by Emy Onuora (hb, 978 1849548144, 17.99). Pitch Black is the story of British-born black footballers from the 1970s, when black footballers first came to prominence within the English game, to the present day, which sees them now make up some 30 per cent of English professional footballers. It is an important book on the history of black footballers in the English game, their historic and existing struggles, and the way both the game and society has changed. It relates how profound changes in attitudes came about, but does so, for the first time from the perspective of those who faced the poisonous stereotypes, the monkey chanting, the throwing of bananas, and the bullets in the post. Emy Onuora charts not only the challenges faced historically by black footballers but also examines their changing roles in the game. Pitch Black is a frank, controversial and often highly critical appraisal of the response to racism by football authorities and the media. It includes interviews with over thirty current and former professional footballers; including Cyrille Regis, John Barnes, Ian Wright and Rio Ferdinand. Good title, eye-catching jacket, and you could not get a hotter topic: you can order Pitch Black and find out more here.

Beauty Tips for Girls by Margaret Montgomery (pb, 978 1908885388, 8.99) is out this month from Cargo. This is a smart, funny, feminist story told by three very different women. Katy is a lonely teenager obsessed with a girls’ magazine, the articles in which could be leading her into danger. Her mother, Corinne, is drowning her sorrows and disappointments in alcohol while Katy’s teacher, Jane, is finding it difficult to move beyond her own troubling past. As the three women’s stories progress, through extracts from the magazine, letters, confession, and personal narrative, what emerges is a witty and compelling satire on the beauty industry and a very contemporary take on femininity and womanhood. A buzz is already building on the blogs and twitter from those who have read this book – Kirsty Logan called it “razor-sharp … a true gem. … immensely readable and full of wry humour… the unflinching observation cuts to the bone.”

Congratulations to all of our friends at Carcanet, who have won the Alison Morrison Award for Diversity at the IPG Awards for their commitment to publishing authors from a diverse range of backgrounds. The 2015 Independent Publishers Guild Awards were announced at a gala dinner last night at the annual IPG conference – and you can see all 13 winners on their website here!

Make sure you keep the Why Vote? series of books from Biteback in stock and on display, as we march ever closer to the election – and a possible TV debate by the end of the month. Why Vote Conservative 2015 (978 1849547369), Why Vote Labour 2015 (978 1849547345), Why Vote Liberal Democrat 2015 (978 1849547352), Why Vote UKIP 2015 (978 1849547376), and Why Vote Green 2015 (978 1849548403) are all available now. You can read a very entertaining piece on the whether the sales of each title are likely to mirror each party’s fortunes in the election, and which sort of voter buys e-books and which buys “real” books: on Iain Dale's website here

Here’s another exciting piece of hot off the press publishing news for you – we’re really spoiling you today! Scott Pack, (previously publisher at HarperCollins imprint The Friday Project) has joined the lovely folk at Gallic Books to set up a new imprint named Aardvark Bureau. Aardvark Bureau will publish "innovative and unusual writing from around the world" in print and e-book formats, and will start on a schedule of one book a month, commencing in September. And hurrah – the books will of course be brought to you from Compass! 
Pack is keeping details close to his chest at present, but said he already had most of his first year's list lined up, describing it as "an eclectic and exciting selection that it will be impossible to pigeonhole." Pack denies his quirky choice of imprint name has been governed by the chance to come first alphabetically in publisher lists – but it sounds like a genius scheme to me!

Are you a bit of a grammar nerd – always correcting your colleagues, and getting cross about apostrophes? I think you'll very much enjoy these jokes then...

Well done to all the eight independent bookshops who are now regional champions and will compete for the overall Independent Bookseller of the Year crown (announced on 11th May).  The regional shortlists and winners have been praised by the judging committee for their “creativity and passion”. Several repeat winners are among the regional champions. The Gutter Bookshop, based in Dublin and Dalkey, won the Ireland award and Chorleywood Bookshop took the South East prize: in doing so, both chalked up their third regional triumphs in the past five years. Meanwhile, The Edinburgh Bookshop is the Scotland winner for the second year in a row (the shop is also the reigning Children’s Bookseller of the Year), while Booka Bookshop in Oswestry took top spot in the Midlands and Wales region for the second year on the trot. First-time winners are The Hungerford Bookshop, Berkshire (South West); Caxton Books & Gallery, Frinton-on-Sea, Essex (East); Regency Bookshop, Surbiton (London); and Storytellers, Inc, Lytham St Annes, Lancashire (North).  While pipped to the post of their respective regions, several shortlisted indies were particularly praised by judges. In the Southwest region, Sarum College Bookstore, Salisbury, was noted for its "excellent stock management and second-to-none community engagement". Last year's North regional winner, The White Rose Bookcafe in Thirsk, was said to go from "strength to strength" with its innovative events programme.   Judges saluted The Blessington Book Store in County Wicklow, Ireland for its "eye-catching displays and elegant use of space". Meanwhile in the East region, relative newcomer Niche Comics and Bookshop, Huntingdon is "Exhibit A in how independent shops can reinvigorate the High Street". Congratulations all!

And here are some of the week’s best Tweets – remember you can see them all first hand by following us @CompassIPS  or click here if you are a Twitter virgin!

Lol. Nigel Farage on @LBC: "I'm not the Messiah. I'm just a very naughty boy". That's why he reaches parts of the electorate others can't.
Our thanks to Hilary Mantel, for calling The Flight of Sarah Battle "the best kind of historical fiction" Tweet @parthianbooks for proof - out May!
Muriel Barbery The Elegance of the Hedgehog: one of the top ten novels chosen for A Year of Reading Dangerously
"They'll rock your world" – @guardian's verdict on Paul Muldoon's Songs and Sonnets
Three women, three journeys, one super book: @MargaMontgomery's Beauty Tips For Girls!
Missed @ElizaFilby talking 'God & Mrs Thatcher' on @BBCRadio4 World @ 1? Catch up with @BBCiPlayerRadio (39m)

Now, this next paperback will not be for every bookshop in the UK, but it will undoubtedly have a market.  Rebel Footprints: A Guide to Uncovering London’s Radical History by David Rosenberg (pb, 978 0745334097, 10.99) brings to life the history of social movements in the capital and is the radical response to stuffy heritage tours and banal day-tripper guides. Rosenberg sets London's radical campaigners against the backdrop of the city’s multi-faceted development and his self-directed walks pair with narratives that seamlessly blend history, politics and geography. Specially commissioned maps and illustrations immerse the reader in the story of the city. Whether visiting it for the first time, or born and raised in it, Rosenberg invites you to see London as you never have before, the nation's capital as its radical centre. As we go into the UK tourist and walking season, this is a perfect gift book for anyone interested in London’s history. Rebel Footprints will be featured on BBC Radio 4's Open Book on March 22nd and there will also be a two page spread in Time Out in their March 20th issue. Guardian Weekend will be reviewing the book on March 21st and David has also written a piece for g2 – there will be a piece in the Independent as well – and there’s more publicity to come! Rebel Footprints by David Rosenberg is published this month by Pluto Press and you can find out more and order it here.

There’s a great 7 min promo video for Rebel Footprints on YouTube, which you can watch here.

@hotdudesreading (the fast growing Instagram feed featuring hunky blokes reading on the New York subway) – a good thing? Or sexist nonsense? Check it out for yourself here and see what you think. Personally, I think it’s all good promo for books – hey, it’s got to be a lot better than @chicksonkindles would be!

Who loves that classic 70’s novel, The Dice Man? And who hasn’t been tempted to make life a bit more interesting by deciding what to do on the turn of a die – indeed, many of us rely now and again on “the rubber of truth” (an eraser with “yes” and “no” on alternate sides) to help us with those tricky decisions. Well, bestselling author Gabrielle Bernstein has now come up with something only marginally more sophisticated – a 62 card deck, each printed with “a powerful, life-changing message, modernized and boiled down to a 140-character description that can be tweeted, pinned on Pinterest, posted on Facebook or shared on Instagram”. As Bernstein says, “My hope is that you'll use this deck daily as a spiritual guide to help expand your miracle mind-set. When in doubt, put your hand on the deck and say, "Thank you, divine guidance. I need a Miracle Now. Show me what you've got!" Gabrielle Bernstein is a bestselling author who regularly lectures in the UK to sell-out audiences, so I say, don’t knock it till you’ve tried it – or even better ordered it for your bookshop. Miracles Now: Inspirational Affirmations and Life-Changing Tools by Gabrielle Bernstein (pb, with 62 cards, 978 1401947828 £10.99) is out in April from Hay House. The book and author will feature in Woman’s Way (circ. 22,000), Glamour Magazine (circ. 404,000), Natural Health (circ. 60,000) the Daily Record (circ. 210,000) and on the website

World Book Day – how was it for you? My absolute favourite story has to be of the little 11-yr-old lad who went off to school dressed as Christian Grey- but was ordered by the headmistress to change his outfit to James Bond! Who, as his mum said, is “a highly promiscuous character who kills people” so how he is more acceptable in a school environment I really do not know! Read the full story in the Guardian here. So here is the obligatory WBD picture of a member of our Compass team making a tit of themselves – and I leave you with 5 little known Wally facts.

1)      In France, he is called Charlie.
2)      His girlfriend was originally called Wilma, but following complaints from the producers of The Flintstones; was changed to Wenda.
3)      The books are banned in several US States because of a 2mm pic of a woman sunbathing topless.
4)      Odlaw (Wally’s evil alter-ego/arch enemy) is Waldo (Wally’s title in the US) backwards.
5)      Martin Handford, Wally’s creator, has always been at great pains to point out that Wally is not “hiding” – merely sauntering happily through life waiting to be found!

That’s all for now folks, more next week!
This blog is taken from a newsletter which is sent weekly to over 700 booksellers as well as publishers and publicists. If you would like to order any of the titles mentioned, then please click here to go to the Compass New Titles Website or talk to your Compass Sales representative.

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